With one grammatically incorrect tweet, Floyd Mayweather Jr. issued an official challenge to Manny Pacquiao:
“Manny Pacquiao I'm calling you out let's fight May 5th and give the world what they want to see,” he wrote Tuesday, before adding, “My Jail Sentence was pushed back because the date was locked in. Step up Punk.”
Last Friday, Clark County (NV.) Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa postponed the start of Mayweather’s 90-day sentence for domestic violence until June 1 so that he could honor a May 5 commitment to fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Before “The Tweet,” Mayweather had been rumored to face either Robert Guerrero or Saul Alvarez, both of whom he would be heavily favored to beat.
Promoter Bob Arum gave Pacquiao a choice between four opponents for a June bout. Let’s just say Lamont Peterson, Tim Bradley, Miguel Cotto or Juan Manuel Marquez would not make the public forget about Mayweather.
However, Pacquiao has excepted the challenge in a press conference, starting another round of heated negotiations over venue, date, drug testing and, of course, money split. Putting the fighters in the ring is a very small battle in this war.
PinnacleSports.com has Mayweather as a -145 favorite against Pacquiao
(+131) should the fight occur in 2012. British bookmaker William Hill
has it at -188/+150 in Mayweather’s favor.
Pacquiao, following a 2011 that featured controversial win over Juan Manuel Marquez and an underwhelming performance against Shane Mosley, has slipped in recent fights. Mayweather, though, looked stellar prior to knocking out Ortiz in the fourth round.
And as the Marquez fight once again showed, Pacquiao has trouble with elite counterpunchers. There are few better counterpunchers in recent boxing history than Mayweather.
At the very least, Mayweather should be a 2-1 favorite. Odds, however, do not always jive with common sense. And common sense would dictate that Mayweather-Pacquiao finally happens.
It appears that Mayweather's tweets have brought boxing bettors closer than ever to what would be the biggest fight in the history of the sport. Let's hope both sides use some common sense of their own.
(Editor's note: If you missed it, we've been all over Mayweather's recent tweets of his big-money sports bets. Check out this story from earlier in the week.)
Yes, boxing does exist outside of the Mayweather-Pacquiao orbit.
Here are four bouts on tab for 2012 that might be worth a wager:
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Marco Antonio Rubio (middleweight) – Feb. 4
Odds: Chavez Jr. -600, Rubio +400
You can say a lot of things about Chavez Jr., son of the Mexican icon. He has been coddled, protected, and coming up the ranks, was fed a bunch of stiffs designed to build up his record. His training habits leave something to be desired, and he is afforded the opportunity to work with boxing’s master trainer, Freddie Roach.
But despite living the privileged pugilistic life, Chavez can fight a bit. He won a close majority decision over Sebastian Zbik last June to win a bogus middleweight belt and defended it with a KO against Peter Manfredo Jr. He will be in tough against Rubio but will receive every benefit of the doubt when it comes to the judging.
Chavez should win a close decision, so for those with a bankroll, lay the 6-to-1.
Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II (welterweight) – Feb. 11
Odds: Berto -200, Ortiz +160
Despite upsetting Berto via unanimous decision at 3-to-1in their first bout last April, Ortiz is once again the underdog. While Berto returned to KO Jan Zaveck on September 3, Mayweather flattened Ortiz in the fourth round two weeks later.
Can Ortiz rebound from the embarrassment and public fallout of the Mayweather debacle? Can he show the same fortitude he did in the first fight against Berto? In short, he is fighting for his professional life and the ability to continue raking in seven-figure paydays.
In what should be a competitive fight, wager on Ortiz to pull off another upset.
Vitali Klitschko vs. Dereck Chisora (heavyweight) – Feb. 18
Odds: Klitschko -1700, Chisora +950
The fact that Chisora is among the world’s top heavyweight contenders says everything you need to know about the division. Despite being 40, Klitschko is still a nearly 20-to-1 favorite. Chisora earned this shot after losing a split decision to Robert Helenius last month in what many believe was the worst decision of 2011.
Despite the eye-opening performance against Helenius, Chisora is 6-foot-1 (six inches shorter than Klitschko), inconsistent and not always in tip-top shape. Klitschko, though, is too old to lay the big number. Bettor beware.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck (heavyweight) – March 3
Odds: Klitschko -5000, Mormeck +2000
Forget the money line: Mormeck is dead money at 20-to-1. He is a 39-year-old ex-cruiserweight champion who has looked dreadful in three heavyweight outings and has not fought since Dec. 2010 (when he stole a split decision from the deserving Fres Oquendo). Even in his prime, Mormeck had a shaky chin and was prone to tiring in the championship rounds.
Take under 6.5 rounds (-150) and hope Klitschko is in the mood for a short night’s work.